Yes, ramen that’s (undetectably) vegan and totally doable.
Get your soup bowls, friends. It’s happening!
While I was doing some freelance work in Kansas last year, John visited Japan and ate his way through Tokyo (jealous much?). One of his favorite dishes was ramen, which he has been on the hunt for stateside ever since.
While several restaurants in Portland offer a great bowl of ramen, most of them are not vegan-friendly. So I wanted to try my hand at this somewhat complicated, soul-warming soup.
Spoiler alert? It turned out to be not that complicated at all!
Origins of Ramen
Ramen is a popular noodle soup in Japan. And while the exact origin is uncertain, it’s thought to have originated in China and been introduced in Japan between the 17th and 20th centuries. You can learn more about the history of ramen here or take a deeper dive with this entire book about it!
How to Make Vegan Ramen
This 10-ingredient recipe starts with the broth.
Ramen broth can be made many different ways, but to keep mine vegan-friendly I went with vegetable broth infused with ginger, onion, garlic and dried shiitake mushrooms (which you can find at most grocery (and all Asian) stores).
To add more depth and that “umami” flavor, I also added a bit of soy (or tamari) sauce and white miso paste.
The result was magic. Friends, I think I’m in love.
While your broth simmers, prepare any desired toppings.
I went with 10-minute flash “fried” crispy tofu, miso-glazed carrots, and baby bok choy. Green onions also provide a colorful, crunchy finish, while chili garlic sauce adds heat.
I hope you all LOVE this hearty, satisfying, simple ramen soup! Make the broth ahead of time and enjoy individual servings throughout the week, or enjoy all four bowls with family or friends. Either way, you win.
If you do try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment and rate it – it’s so helpful to us and other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We love seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Easy Vegan Ramen
- 1 Tbsp grape seed oil
- 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (5 cloves yield ~2 1/2 Tbsp or 18 g)
- 1 3-inch piece ginger (peeled and diced)
- 1 medium yellow onion (coarsely chopped)
- 6 cups vegetable stock (DIY or store-bought)
- 2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (plus more to taste)
- 0.5 ounces dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp white or yellow miso paste (ensure vegan friendliness on package – I like this brand* available at Whole Foods)
- 1 tsp sesame oil (for flavor // plus more to taste)
- 8 ounces ramen noodles* (ensure gluten-free and vegan-friendliness on package – I like this brand available at Whole Foods)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion (for garnish)
- 10 ounces extra-firm tofu (flash “fried”*)
- Miso-glazed carrots*
- Miso-glazed baby bok choy*
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add oil, garlic, ginger, and onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until the onion has developed a slight sear (browned edges).
- Add 1 cup (240 ml // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) of the vegetable broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Use a whisk (or wooden spoon) to scrape up any bits that may have stuck to the bottom to enhance the flavor of the broth.
- Add remaining 5 cups (1200 ml // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) vegetable broth, tamari or soy sauce, and dehydrated mushrooms – stir.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer on low for at least 1 hour, up to 2-3, stirring occasionally. The longer it cooks, the more the flavor will deepen and develop.
- Taste broth and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more soy sauce or sesame oil if desired. Add the miso paste at this time.
- When you’re 30 minutes from serving, prepare any desired toppings (see notes for miso-glazed carrots, baby bok choy, and quick-seared tofu).
- NOODLES: Fill a large saucepan or pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add ramen noodles (depending on size of pan you may need to do this in two batches // use fewer or more batches if altering batch size) and cook according to package instructions – about 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Strain broth and reserve mushrooms for serving. (Save onions and ginger for serving as well, if desired, though I discarded them).
- To serve, divide ramen noodles between four (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) serving bowls. Top with strained broth and desired toppings, such as carrots, bok choy, green onion, or seared tofu. Serve with chili garlic sauce (found here) for added heat.
- Best when fresh, though the broth can be stored (separately) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month.
*For the miso-glazed carrots, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Chop 1 cup carrots into 1/4-inch thick pieces on an angle (see photo). To a small mixing bowl add 1 Tbsp yellow miso paste, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp tamari, 1 tsp rice vinegar (or sub lime juice), and 1 tsp sesame oil. Whisk to combine, then add carrots and toss. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet in an even layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point, or until tender when pierced and deep golden brown.
* For the miso-glazed baby bok choy, slice bok choy in half lengthwise and heat a metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Prepare the same miso mixture as above (for carrots). Brush mixture over bok choy. Once pan is hot, lay down bok choy cut-side down and sear for 1-2 minutes. Flip and sear on other side.
*To flash “fry” tofu, press extra firm tofu until most moisture is removed, then cut into rectangles (see photo) and add to a plastic bag (or a mixing bowl with lid). Add 1 heaping Tbsp cornstarch and a pinch each salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Heat a metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp grape seed or sesame oil and tofu. Brown on one side for 4-5 minutes, then flip and brown on other side until light golden brown and crispy.
*Ramen method adapted from Chow.
*Miso-glazed carrots adapted from Food52.
*The miso paste linked above is to give a reference of the packaging, but the pricing is oddly high on Amazon. It’s closer to $5 at the store, sometimes cheaper.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.